61 Great ESL Writing Prompts

Here you will find ESL writing prompts to help your English-as-a-Second-Language learners develop writing skills, practice vocabulary, and reflect on key concepts.

One of the keys to supporting ESL students with writing is by providing frameworks to help kickstart their writing ideas.

That’s where these prompts come in.

These ESL writing prompts will even motivate the most reluctant writers!

So schedule into your lesson plans a couple of these high-interest ESL writing prompts.

ESL Writing Prompts

Use the following ESL writing prompts to help students practice their writing skills.

1. Create a humorous story about a sea turtle who learns how to sing from a beach-goer.

2. Write about the perfect first day of school.

3. For a day, you get to trade places with the principal! Tell about your fun or difficult day being in charge.

4. Explain how to use your favorite phone app.

5. Describe and sketch a snowman.

6. Write a story that centers around at least three of the five words: backpack, playground, cafeteria, auditorium, and classmate

7. If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

8. Imagine it’s the year 2311. Describe what you see.

9. Without telling the name of it, describe your favorite food. Use the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, hear) to generate details.

10. Write about a typical day from the perspective of your shoe.

11. Draft an original story using the characters from your favorite TV show or movie.

12. Explain what steps you would take if you lost your backpack.

13. Explain to a friend how he or she can win at your favorite online game. 

14. Tell, step-by-step, how to make your favorite art or craft.

15. Describe a tree to someone who has never seen one before.

16. Write the three best things about learning a new language.

17. Share, step-by-step, how to make your favorite dessert or snack.

18. Write a biography about a famous person that has most inspired you.

19. Describe your favorite board game, app, or toy.

20. Using all five of your senses, describe your favorite food.

21. Describe your favorite outdoor game. Tell why you enjoy it so much.

22. Explain how to make a bed.

23. Write three S.M.A.R.T goals that you would like to achieve this school year.

24. Describe why Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life was so important to the world.

25. Write the pros and cons of using a cell phone in class.

26. Compare and contrast learning by reading a book versus watching a movie.

27. Explain how too many cars on the road is bad for the environment.

28. Write a paragraph about how to prepare for a test.

29. Share one regret you have. If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently?

30. Explain to someone the different ways that he/she can become a better reader.

31. Choose one of the following and describe it in detail: rainforest, city, town, mountain, desert

32. Using the five senses, describe the ocean below and above the surface.  

33. Rewrite the main ideas of your favorite book.

34. Explain something that you know how to do well.

35. Describe any type of storm. (e.g. hurricane, tsunami, tornado, blizzard, hail, etc.)

36. Write about how you and your best friend met.

37. Retell the key ideas of your favorite non-fiction book.

38. Describe the most beautiful scene in nature that you have seen.

39. Compare and contrast any two holiday traditions.

40. Describe the place you love to visit most. Tell why it’s so special to you.

41. Give detailed instructions on how to decorate a Christmas tree.

42. Share one of your most memorable summer or spring break memories.

43. Describe a typical weekend with your family. What do you do? Where do you go?

44. Recount the best birthday party you’ve ever attended.

45. What are the pros and cons of children wearing school uniforms?

46. Describe any special holiday traditions that you celebrate with your family.

47. Write a news article offering tips on how to master a new language.

48. Explain how to be a good friend.

49. Share an exciting memory about your pet.

50. Explain soccer to someone who doesn’t know how to play the game.

51. Describe how to solve a math word problem. Provide details.

52. Would you rather hike in a beautiful rainforest or swim in the sparkling ocean? Why?

53. Write a paragraph about how technology makes life easier. Give examples.

54. In paragraph form, write ten facts about the state, city, or country in which you live.

55. Describe your favorite hobby. What makes this pastime so interesting to you?

56. Who is the most important person in your family and why?

57. Write about a very sad moment in your life. What happened? How did you cope?

58. Make a timeline of your life.

59. Write a short biography about a famous person in history.

60. Explain how to care for a dog.

61. Describe the duties of your classroom helper job.

For support, teach students how to respond well to ESL writing prompts.

If you enjoyed these ESL writing prompts, you might likeparagraph writing prompts